Wildlife watching tours - bird watching holidays -
culture tours for independent travellers and groups
Canopy Tower, Soberania National Park © Canopy Family
Slaty-tailed Trogon © M O'DellBrown-throated three-toed Sloth © D TiplingOcellated Antbird © D TiplingSpectacled Owl © R KnottGeoffroy's Tamarin © N WatsonGolden-hooded Tanager © D Tipling

Canopy Tower, Panama (8 days + ext. available) P122

Tour ref. no. P122
Duration: 7 nights (8 days taking into account flights which are payable directly)
Panama City – Canopy Tower – Panama City
  • Eye-level tropical rainforest birding from Canopy Tower with incredible views of stunning bird speciessloths and monkeys
  • Soberania National Park – home to cotingas, antshrikes and much more
  • Spectacular numbers of raptors during autumn migration
  • Explore the famous Pipeline Road for tityras and trogons
  • Search Summit Ponds for oropendolas and tiger herons and even a Spectacled Owl is possible nearby
  • The Pacific coast offers frigatebirds and boobies
  • It’s a small country with BIG diversity!

Introduction

With almost 1,000 species in a country smaller than Scotland, Panama links North and South America and is one of the best places for birding in Central America. The rich and varied tropical rainforest of Soberanía National Park has toucans and tinamous, manakins and motmots – you’ll be dazzled by an amazing variety of colourful birds and a range of fascinating mammals such as Mantled Howler Monkey and two species of sloth.  On some days in the migration season incredible numbers of raptors move through.  Add to this the proximity of the Panama Canal ( just 3km away) and the rather odd sight of a ship seeming to float through the forest, and you have a unique and unforgettable bird tour location.

Itinerary and price

Day 1: Flight to be organised by you

For help with your flight arrangements and to receive a no obligation quote, you can complete the enquiry form on our website or call 0800 280 8947 to speak to a flight advisor at StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of the Flight Centre Travel Group, a leading retailer of airfares and worldwide flights.

Meals: Dinner at Canopy Tower

If you board a flight from the UK very early morning you may well arrive by the evening into Panama City.

On arrival at the airport you will be met by your driver for the transfer to Canopy Tower, located at the top of Semaphore Hill in the rainforest of Soberanía National Park.  As you arrive at Canopy Tower you will be enthralled by hummingbirds dashing around the feeders at the entrance – commonly seen are Long-billed Hermit, White-necked Jacobin, Violet-bellied and Blue-chested Hummingbirds and White-vented Plumeleteer with an occasional Snowy-bellied Hummingbird making an appearance.

From the Tower’s observation deck you can admire the 360 degree panoramic view  across the rain forest canopy for a superb range of birds including Blue Cotinga, Red-lored Parrot and Scarlet-rumped Cacique.  From this excellent vantage point you see the majestic Centennial Bridge (“Bridge of the Americas”) as well as ships transiting the Panama Canal.

Day 2: Canopy Tower, Semaphore Hill Road and Ammo Dump Ponds

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Your guide will be waiting for you at the Observation Deck for some early morning birding while you enjoy hot coffee, tea or orange juice. Some of the birds you are likely to see are Green and Red-legged Honeycreepers, Green Shrike-Vireo, Scaled Pigeon, Keel-billed Toucan, Collared Araçari, a variety of flycatchers and raptors sometimes including King Vulture and Ornate Hawk-Eagle. After breakfast you’ll start exploring Soberanía National Park by taking a pleasant walk down Semaphore Hill Road. This winding, shady paved road through the forest is bordered by a variety of wildflowers.  A little over a mile long it crosses a large creek about half-way down. The species list is extensive with forest interior birds as well as edge-dwellers. Olivaceous Flatbill, Plain Xenops, Lesser Greenlet, Black-breasted and White-whiskered Puffbirds, Fasciated and Western Slaty-Antshrikes are just a few of the species likely to be seen.

The Ammo Dump Ponds are just past Gamboa on the way to Pipeline Road. It is the best place to see the elusive White-throated Crake and a host of other waterbirds. Least Grebes and Purple Gallinules are common and Rufescent Tiger-Heron and American Pygmy-Kingfisher are also resident. You can often find Greater Ani, Red-legged Honeycreeper, Whooping Motmot (recent split from Blue-crowned) and you may be lucky enough to see a Capybara.

Night at Canopy Tower

Day 3: Pipeline Road and Summit Gardens

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast you board the Birdmobile or the Rainfomobile (open-topped vehicles) which take you to Pipeline Road, the best place in Central Panama to find forest birds and one of the premier birding spots in the world!  Birding here is tricky, though, and you need patience. Concentrating on the start of Pipeline, you will look for Greater Ani, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Yellow-tailed Oriole, Masked Tityra, Rosy Thrush-Tanager, Plain Wren, Streaked Flycatcher, Violaceous Trogon, Red-throated Ant-Tanager, Squirrel Cuckoo, Grey-headed Chachalaca, Southern Bentbill, Forest Elaenia, Panama Flycatcher, Blue Ground-Dove and Little Tinamou.  You may see Western Night Monkey in their day-time roost whilst you are looking for the gorgeous Golden-collared Manakin.

In the afternoon visit Summit Gardens, a centre for recreation, education and conservation, dedicated to reflecting and enhancing Panama’s tropical and cultural diversity. The botanical gardens are great for migratory warblers and other forest-edge species, including a colony of Chestnut-headed Oropendolas, Yellow-margined Flycatcher, Laughing Falcon, Grey, Crane and Great Black Hawks, Collared Forest-Falcon, Tropical Pewee, Masked Tityra, Golden-fronted and Scrub Greenlets, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Giant, Shiny and Bronzed Cowbirds and Blue Cotinga. This park is the best place to find Streak-headed Woodcreeper, a difficult species to get elsewhere.

Night at Canopy Tower

Day 4: Plantation Trail and Chagres River/Gamboa Feeders

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast, a short ride takes you to the bottom of Semaphore Hill and on to Plantation Trail, one of the premier birding areas. This easy trail passes through mature rainforest and follows a small creek (Rio Chico Masambi) which is a reliable place for Golden-crowned Spadebill. Black-chested Jays are often found at the parking area near the entrance. Other birds to look for along the trail include Ocellated, Bicoloured, Chestnut-backed, White-bellied and Spotted Antbirds, Broad-billed and Whooping Motmots, trogons, White-whiskered Puffbird, hummingbirds (Blue-chested, White-necked Jacobin and others).

After lunch a short drive takes you to the Canopy B & B, in the picturesque village of Gamboa, to check out the bird feeders. Here you are likely to see Red-legged, Shining and Green Honeycreepers, Lemon-rumped, Crimson-backed and Blue-grey Tanagers, Thick-billed Euphonia, Yellow-bellied and Variable Seedeaters, Whooping Motmot and Grey-headed Chachalaca. Beneath the feeders there could be some foraging Central American Agoutis

Next, it’s off to Chagres River, the main tributary for the Panama Canal. Birding along the river banks and the forest edges of Gamboa Resort can be spectacular as you search for Amazon, Green and American Pygmy Kingfishers, as well as Whooping Motmot and Cinnamon Woodpecker. There’s a good chance of Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Cocoi, Green and Striated Herons, Wattled Jacana, Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Royal and Sandwich Terns, Brown Pelican, Neotropic Cormorant, Tricoloured and Little Blue Herons, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Mangrove Swallow and Black-chested Jay.

Night at Canopy Tower

Day 5: Pipeline Road

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

You will spend all day along the bird-rich Pipeline Road to search for one of the area’s super-rare specialties, Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo, which can prove difficult to see. You’ll also be searching for eight species of wren, five trogons, four puffbirds, three motmots, many tanagers and flycatchers, including the unusual Brownish Twistwing, Great Jacamar and Common Potoo, among others. The calls of Streak-chested Antpitta and Black-faced Antthrush will lure you in and a swarm of army ants might be found, attended by a host of birds including, Bicoloured, Ocellated and Spotted Antbirds.

Night at Canopy Tower

Day 6: Summit Ponds - Old Gamboa Road - Chagres River

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Old Gamboa Road and the associated ponds at Summit are great places to find Canal Zone birds. At Summit Ponds scan for residents such as Green, Striated, Capped and Boat-billed Herons as well as Green, Ringed, Amazon, Green-and-rufous (rare) and American Pygmy Kingfishers. Look for Rusty-margined and Streaked Flycatchers, Mangrove Swallow, Bat Falcon, Cocoa Woodcreeper, Lineated and Crimson-crested Woodpeckers. Beyond the two ponds you’ll be on Old Gamboa Road, one of the birdiest spots around as it passes through varied habitat with plenty of specialties, including Blue Ground-Dove, Great Antshrike, Jet Antbird, Black-tailed and Royal Flycatchers, Lance-tailed and Golden-collared Manakins as well as the delightful Rosy Thrush-Tanager.  Spectacled Owl is a real possibility, too, as the guides know where these birds often roost.

Here, along the banks of the Chagres River, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Green and Striated Herons, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Wattled Jacana, White-throated Crake and Anhinga can be found. On the river itself you might see Least Grebe, Muscovy and Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks.  Embera Indians are often out on their fishing canoes.

Night at Canopy Tower

Day 7: Rainforest Discovery Centre - Miraflores Lock (optional)

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

After breakfast we depart for the Panamá Rainforest Discovery Centre, an ecotourism and environmental education facility created and administered by Fundacion Avifauna Eugene Eisenmann. Located off Pipeline Road adjacent to Soberanía National Park, the area contains several attractions, the best of which is a 100-foot-high observation tower with four rest platforms, each stopping at a different level of the rainforest. The view from the top is incredible! Scan for raptors like Double-toothed Kite and Semiplumbeous Hawk then explore the 1.1 km circuit of well-maintained forest trails.

This afternoon you have the option to relax on your own, catch up on some photography, or perhaps visit Miraflores Locks Museum. In addition to seeing first-hand the operation of the Canal, with huge container ships negotiating the narrow locks, you can also explore the world-class museum – keep an eye open for Magnificent Frigatebirds which often perch on the buoys or glide overhead.

Night at Canopy Tower

Day 8: Canopy Tower - Panama City

Meals: Breakfast and lunch

You’ll have breakfast at Canopy Tower and enjoy some local birding for as long as time permits (on your own this morning).  Canopy Tower will provide you with the transfer to Panama City to arrive in good time to check in for your flight home

 

Tour ends

Tour extensions available to include Canopy Lodge (see below) and Canopy Camp (contact us for details).

If you require an extra night in Panama City to link with flights please let us know and provide you with a price and book this on your behalf.

Note: The order of visits and places visited may vary depending on weather and other factors.

Price per person:
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2017) $1799
High Season (16 Dec 2017- 15 April 2018) $2939
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2018) $1889

To add three nights at Canopy Lodge the supplement is as follows:
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2017) $699
High Season (16 Dec 2017- 15 April 2018) $1049
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2018) $735

To add five nights at Canopy Lodge the supplement is as follows:
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2017) $1299
High Season (16 Dec 2017- 15 April 2018) $2099
Green/migration Seasons (16 April – 15 Dec 2018) $1369

Supplement surcharge for stays from 20 Dec – 5 Jan inclusive – please enquire

There is no single room supplement for staying at Canopy Tower, but please contact us and we can provide a supplement for a single room, should it be required at your lodge in Cerro Punta

Price includes:
Seven nights accommodation at Canopy Tower
Pre-travel information
Accommodation in single/twin/double room
All meals at Canopy Tower and non-alcoholic beverages (except wine served with dinner which is included) from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 8.
Services of an experienced bird guide for two outings each day or a full day excursion (max. group size of 8)  from Day 2 to Day 7 inclusive.
Entrance fees applicable during your stay at Canopy Tower
Internet service

Price excludes:

Flights and travel insurance
Alcoholic drinks (except for wine served with meals which is included) Tower)
Entrance fee to Miraflores Exhibition should you decide to visit
Extra excursions (available for supplement)
Tips, laundry, phone calls and anything else not listed in the inclusions

How to book

The booking of this itinerary is with Wild About Travel Limited and our booking terms and conditions apply. In order to protect your payments we operate a trust account in accordance with the requirements of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

Please contact Jo Thomas at Wild About Travel (jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk) / 01480-370593 to register your interest and request a booking form.

To confirm your booking please complete the booking form and send a 25% deposit by £ sterling cheque * payable to Wild About Travel Trust to the Wild About Travel Office, 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambs PE29 1YG. The balance payment would be due 40 - 60 days (to be confirmed at the time of booking) prior to your travel dates.

* Note: Where a price is given in another currency you can pay in £ sterling. We will use the Lloyds Bank exchange rate at the time of making the deposit payment and the balance payment to convert the figure to £. If you would prefer to make a payment by internet banking please let us know and we can supply you with the bank details.

Flights

We can advise on appropriate flights and timings that you may wish to book, but we do not organise or arrange flights on our customers’ behalf. You will need to make your own flight arrangements directly with a flight retailer or the airline concerned; we recommend StudentUniverse (in partnership with Gapyear.com), part of Flight Centre Travel Group. They can be contacted by completing the online enquiry form or you can call 0800 280 8947 to speak to one of their flight advisors.

For any help or advice please call or email Wild About Travel and we would be happy to assist.
Tel: +44 (0)1480 370593 Mobile: +44 (0)7817 574235
Email: jo@wildabouttravel.co.uk
Wild About Travel Limited is a company registered in England and Wales.
Reg. no. 5522066. Registered Office: 25 Sapley Road, Hartford, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE29 1YG, UK

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